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Characters and concepts are copyright 2006 to James Coughtrey; the world belongs to White Wolf.

Luna Woes

The moon – long has it been tied to the darkest myths and legends. The full moon hangs high above the nights of bloodshed, of suffering. Recently it has been linked to werewolves, man beasts; hunters of the night.

The humans got lucky on that one; werewolves are tied to the moon, but not just when it’s full, all her faces affect those who first change under them. Those who change under the new moon are the silent hunters, the strikers from the shadows. The crescent moon illuminates the shamans, those who understand the mysteries of spirits. Then the half moon reveals the ones that walk half in shadow, half in light, they are the diplomats and the judges. When the moon is gibbous, swollen with thought the visionaries and thinkers come forth, revelling in their new found knowledge. Finally, on the nights of the full moon, the warriors appear.  Dark are their first changes for now they can release the rage in their soul.

How do I know this? I changed under the full moon, finally discovering what I was born to be. A werewolf. What? you couldn’t tell, I’m not surprised; I’m Matt, nothing to be scared of there, fifteen years old, average build, average height, average weight black hair. A face you would skip over in a crowd; only if you paused, looked into my eyes then you would see; see the soul of a predator, and it would be smiling.

I crouched high in a tree, nestled in the upper branches, wearing the form of the Urshul, a man sized wolf with monstrous jaws, wicked talons and hand sized paws. I was waiting for the moon rise and the nightly howl bringing the news from my pack, The Lost Mysteries, and the urshul was the only form of the werewolf that could stay in a tree and howl. Have you ever seen a wolf climb a tree, no, well they can’t stay in them either?

The moon rose, a silvery crescent shining over the roof tops, and the howl went up bringing news of my pack mates, where they were, how they were, what they were doing and the disturbances in the territory. Nothing new, only Ed reporting on the borders and Lucy commenting on the spirit world.  I joined in, telling them of what I had found that day; quick summary, nothing. For being a monster in human skin life could really drag sometimes.

The howl ended and somewhere a bell tolled. Nine o’clock. I’d best be getting home. Amazingly I still had school because it’s the largest gathering of humans in the area so supposedly that’s where most of the activity would be. Total rubbish, it was still the most boring place in our territory and I had to patrol it.

I pushed off from the tree, powerful hind legs throwing me far into space, there was a brief sensation of weightlessness then I fell, shifting quickly into Dalu, the primal human, to land rolling and swapping back to the wolf for the run home. While the life of the werewolf can be hard, dangerous and occasionally boring, the shape shifting more than makes up for it, being able to see the world through five different sets of eyes is indescribable, and growing jaws that can bit through a man’s arm is worryingly fun.

I ran through the park sticking to the shadows, avoiding the humans on a late night strolls.  Seeing a wolf running through the trees isn’t nearly as scary as, say a nine foot tall monster with six inch claws, but people still seem to freak if they see one. They were easy to avoid, though I could smell them long before I could see them and see them long before they could see me. Even if they did see something, they would assume its was just a trick of the light or a shadow, that’s more sensible than thinking you just saw something that can change into a wolf. That would just be silly. Yet that doesn’t stop it being true.

The park was small and I soon got to the edge where it met the road that ensnared it. Unfortunately the road was well lit and if I tried to run across I probably would be spotted. I hung back in the shadows of the trees and changed back into a human. Suddenly I felt blinded as my senses shrunk down to human levels, it passed after a few seconds but it still felt like I was missing something just outside my hearing. I was crouching in the dirt under the trees, hands filthy. I stood up wiping my hands on my bound jeans, which basically means they change with me, and crossed the road, I could have got home faster as a wolf but it was safer as a human.

I reached my house a little while later and checked my watch 9:50.  That was good.  Recently my mother had imposed a ten o’clock curfew, and while my inner wolf balked at the idea of following the commands of a weak, pathetic human it understood the value of a bank of goodwill with my mother. I went inside the house, mumbled a greeting to her then went upstairs to my room.

A lot had changed in six months, especially me.  When I went to the monthly werewolf meet with Ed and Lucy, I was told of a camp where they send cubs, new werewolves, to be trained in the basics. Well it was a way out of school and a chance to learn some really cool tricks, I couldn’t wait; I told my mum that I was going to a learning centre for special people, ‘true’, and the school I had flu, ‘false’. There I learnt about the history of werewolves, the five stable forms, received some gifts which are actually special powers and discovered a lot about the spirit world which is basically a warped reflection of our own that is inhabited by the spirits of animals and objects in this one. I also earned my werewolf name, ‘Matt, the-youth-who-commands’ which came from when I started ordering people around within five minutes of arriving; though I still use my own name most of the time.  Whoever heard of someone introducing them self with a seven syllable name?

My room had also changed during my fortnight away.  My mum had found a breathing mask and a skip and thrown the festering piles of, whatever, that littered my room away, much to the relief to everyone in the house, and the horror of the wolf who sulked for days complaining about the smells it hadn’t investigated yet being gone. My punching bag was still there though, even if it looked like it had been savaged by a bear, which I guess was pretty close. Hanging from a hook cobbled onto the frame was my bound string of beads which, when I changed looked something like a dog collar.

I turned on the small TV that had been a present for getting an A for an essay; it was on wolves. There was an old horror movie on tonight, about a werewolf, typical. Pretty unrealistic, the werewolf was badly done, the howls were pathetic, just a load of gibberish. And any werewolf that lets himself get beaten up by a load of villagers deserves everything that’s coming to him. The bit when he got shot with a silver bullet was scary though, I don’t like to be reminded of my own weakness. I went to bed, the werewolf on TV was pathetic, but at least he was doing something, not just sitting around waiting for something to happen.

I ran through the forest, moving silently through the undergrowth, following a trail where some large creature had crashed through the forest. My pack mates ran alongside me with only a whisper to tell of their passing; then they reached the end of the trail, swarmed around the creature eager for the kill. It turned and looked straight at me.

It was me.

The alarm rang at eight, later now I didn’t need to spend an hour punching my punching bag to work of my excess rage. I got up grabbed my bound clothes still muddy from last night’s adventure, a towel and went to have a nice hot shower, even if the wolf did complain that it didn’t like washing. Breakfast was boiled eggs but I would have preferred some meat, I just finished in time to grab my bag and catch the school bus.

The school bus could be summed up in two words, mobile riot. There were kids screaming, fighting for seats, arguing at the top of their voices and throwing stuff at people they don’t like, unfortunately they were very bad shots. In the midst of all this chaos was my seat, a piece of calm to call my own and even though my pack and I patrolled a square mile of territory, the most precious piece to me was the seat on the bus. I had carved it from the chaos, defended it from intruders and recently I had found out it was actually a locus of peace, a place where the spirit world was closer to the real world than most areas, the perfect place to recharge my spiritual batteries for a long day.

I sank gratefully into, it fingers moving to the gouges from when I had lost control, the surrounding chaos seemed to dim, fading into the background. I slid slightly down the evolutionary scale, just a little, sharpening my hearing, vision and smell slightly, it was always easier to do this in my seat; I wondered why I had never questioned this before, probably because everything else was so weird.  The werewolf thing was almost mundane now.

Almost.

The bus stopped, someone got on, and we were off again. Suddenly there was the sound of metal rubbing against metal, my head snapped up and I looked for the source of the sound. A pain sprit was hovering in the air above the crowd it resembled a ball of barbed wire and was probably just as nasty.  Pain sprits live to cause pain that’s what being a pain spirit is. But it was too small to do any real harm though.

“Argh! What did you do that for?” Okay maybe I was wrong, but I couldn’t do anything on a crowded bus, too many witnesses, I’d tell the pack later. As I watched the sprit I noticed something strange, it was constantly hovering over the head of a blond girl, tall, good looking, probably in my year; I switched to all the way Dalu hoping no one would notice.

She didn’t travel on the bus much that I could tell from the anxiety coming off her, and the sprit wasn’t urging her to hurt people, she wasn’t acting like she was hearing voices. She was however being very defensive of her seat watching for an attack and scaring the poor year eight next to her. Strange, I’d keep a close eye on her, definitely tell the pack later.  Even if she had just cut her finger this morning and the spirit was still feeding, I at least had something to report.

I was having a horrible day; first I had had terrible dreams and hadn’t slept properly, my mum had gone to work early and I had to go on the bus, there was this vague feeling that something was missing but I didn’t know what, and now this creepy looking boy was staring at me.

The girl wasn’t in any of my classes, which was a pity as I really needed something to distract me as I struggled through the lessons.  The wolf and I had come to an agreement, he leaves me alone during school and I let him do what he wants, within reason, after it. This worked as long as I wasn’t bored and started agreeing with him. So I still couldn’t concentrate in maths but at least some subjects were improving. I spotted her again in lunch which, due to an amazing display of creativity from the catering staff was veggie burgers but, with a slice of tomato on top. Or it would been if I hadn’t replaced the burger with some meat I found in the fridge which may or may not have been pre cooked – you would be amazed how much it takes to kill a werewolf.

She was queuing when I spotted her; the pain spirit had been joined by a joy spirit, which looked rather like a powder puff floating around her head, and a sickness spirit, which looked exactly like a cockroach, and was clinging to her back, all very strange. I really hopped that the pain spirit didn’t get hungry and eat the sickness spirit, when a spirit eats another spirit their essences combine and create a mix of the two e.g. a spirit that creates a painful illness. She definitely wasn’t one of the spirit urged, you would call them schizophrenic. But she was acting oddly, little things, the way she sighed when she saw it was veggie burgers, the fact that no one complained when she cut ahead of them and then, the big hint, when her foot passed straight through a chair leg without her noticing.  I definitely had to report this.

My day was going from bad to worse, as well as the annoying bus ride I had had my three least favourite subjects this morning and the nagging feeling of something missing wouldn’t go away. Also as I had walked through the door to my geography classroom I suddenly found myself in a small room with four doors, if I went through one I would just end up in another identical room. It went on for several hours then, as I walked through one door I suddenly found myself walking into my classroom, and no time had passed! And now the boy from the bus was staring at me again.

After school I went to see Lucy, our pack’s expert on the spirit world, and told her about the girl and the unusual activity of the spirits. She diagnosed it as either, a sprit urged or a pre change werewolf. Then Ed came in, Lucy told him what was happening and he sent me off to find her.

“It will be easier to find her if you have her blood,” Ed said as I was leaving.

“You want what now?” I asked confused

“Didn’t they tell you how a werewolf can track his pray more easily if he has tasted their blood.” I thought back to the lesson on tracking, which I had spent mentally adding glasses and a moustache to everyone.

“No.”

“Well we can, bite her and you’ll have an easier time finding her.”

You know sometimes being a werewolf can be disgusting.

So I spent the next half-hour trying to find her scent at the school, which was nigh on impossible as there were so many conflicting scents. I did pick up it up eventually, fifteen year old, female, high anxiety, and the slightly metallic tang of a spirit copying real flesh. The trail went to a house, about six blocks from school and two from my house.  It looked like a normal house but if you looked closer you could see the weeds in the lawn, the cracking paint and smell the damp in the walls. I went home, some werewolves would stay there for the entire night to try and find out who she was. I dug out the school directory and looked up the house number. I found her name, Jacky.

I was now convinced I was going insane. Everything fitted; I was hearing voices, having hallucinations, the incident with the rooms couldn’t possibly have happened. Now I was convinced there was a huge black dog following me and somehow it reminded me of the boy on the bus. I was definitely going to see the school councillor if it didn’t clear up by Monday.

I went to bed and dreamed of wolves that looked like me.

I hated having to wake up, sleep was so much more entertaining than the long boredom of school.  Even being a werewolf didn’t help, and how boring is it if you can’t change for fear of starting a riot? Having to face a pre-change werewolf wasn’t helping me get out of bed either. Coming up to the first change most werewolves are angry, violent, fiercely territorial and likely to try and claw your eyes out. Now why did that seem familiar? Eventually the wolf bullied me into getting up, I probably shouldn’t have tried, the wolf can be very persuasive, or at least loud. I grabbed my bound clothes, the necklace and a towel steadfastly ignoring the wolf who was saying it didn’t need a bath and was quite clean enough already thank you very much. It was payback time for waking me.

After wrestling with the wolf for the tap I eventually got washed and had breakfast. Toast (where is the meat?) and left to catch the bus. It was packed as usual but my seat was free, well it was always free, unless some idiot who didn’t know the rules sat there, then it was free after twenty seconds of me stepping on the bus. The bus moved off then stopped again, stop, go, stop, go; it would be relaxing if there wasn’t so much noise.  Eventually the girl, Jacky, got on. Today there were even more spirits around her, I hoped they didn’t take a liking to any of the other students, the spirit urged and ridden are really dangerous, fortunately they seemed quite content to consume the essence pouring off the girl.

Now that it had been pointed out it was rather obvious she a werewolf, she was displaying subtle canine behaviour. She was definitely going to go through her first change soon and I could sense the stress coming off her even as a human. She kept glancing around as if looking for a voice that had just spoken, and even if she didn’t realise it she was taking two seats but that was probably because she was acting so weird. The bus reached school and everyone filed off, I managed to get in the queue to get off behind her, in the vein hope of following her. Unfortunately as she stepped through the bus door she flickered and disappeared, no one else noticed, or at least mentioned it.  It was incredibly annoying as I didn’t pick her up again until lunch time.

I was half-heartedly hoping that this would be the kind of insanity where you just burble in the corner happily, and not one of the ones where you go mad and try to kill everyone, though I had the strangest feeling it would be the latter. In short my nerves were now stretched to breaking point and weren’t soothed when I stepped out of the bus and found myself walking in the front door of the school.

I have decided that the catering staff are vegetarian, I can’t remember the last time we had meat.  Today was vegetarian curry and I had forgotten to bring any meat with me, so consequently I was a little on edge. She was sitting at the end of one packed table, grimacing as she ate through the veggie dish. I sat down on a deserted table, which remained deserted. People sometimes ask why I don’t have any friends. They don’t ask me they ask other people. Who mostly say ‘talk to him for five minutes’, that day someone did. A little kid no more than a year eight sat down and started talking.

“Hi are you Matt you are so cool everyone thinks you are really scary but I think your cool they say you’ll bite my head off but I don’t believe that I’m Tom by the way.”

The wolf was quite willing to prove him wrong on the head subject, but I was momentarily stunned. Not only had this kid ignored my reputation and sat down here, but hadn’t paused once during the last sentence. Unfortunately while the kid was bugging me Jacky had left without my knowing, and when I noticed this I was even more annoyed with the kid who was still talking. It was probably the wolf’s idea, but to shut him up I kicked him in the shin and left before he could recover.

After totally failing to find her during the day, ‘Damn kid’, I was reduced to skulking behind the bins waiting for her to go past. ‘So glamorous’ I thought as I put on the necklace and started to shift. Six months ago I would have fought it but too much had passed in that time for me to renounce the trill of the hunt. I dropped to the ground claws clicking on the concrete and started to sniff the air, trying to get the girls scent. She hadn’t come by yet, so no trail.  I hunkered down and waited. Eventually she came but I didn’t recognise her at first.  I was used to seeing her in full colour, but I spotted the telltale spirits floating round her and followed.

I was feeling saner by now, the voices had stopped, there were no more incidents with the doors, and I had even booked a night out with my friends, maybe I was okay, I could have just had a slight fever these last few days and had just  hallucinated, that was far more sensible. There was a crash behind me and a distinct dog growl, which for some reason sounded like a curse. I whirled around and saw a trash can overturned, but there was no one there. I started walking again trying to convince myself that it was the wind, no one could hide in the shadow behind the bin.

I was hiding in the shadow behind the bin, which I had knocked down when I was following her trail by scent and not paying attention. She was getting closer to her house and if I didn’t bite her soon I’d have to wait till tomorrow. I started running, trying to choose the least painful area to go for, which wasn’t helped when the wolf started advising me on the tastiest areas to aim at. Left upper arm, she’d still be able to walk and write unless she was left handed, but that couldn’t be helped. ‘Okay, close distance,’ I ran through the stages in my head, ‘prepare to spring and. Pounce!’ she spun around and I crashed into her side, my claws cutting deep groves into her flesh and I bounced off and crashed into the ground, hard. She aimed a kick at me which I leapt out of the way of. I started to run away, I had lost the element of surprise and there had to be a better way of tasting her blood.

I rounded the corner, checked around to see if anyone was there and changed back into a human. It wouldn’t be good if she kept chasing me, I might lose my temper. ‘Well that was a complete failure’ I thought bitterly, ‘have I actually done anything note worthy today.’ I considered it briefly. ‘I’d kicked that kid in the shin but I don’t suppose it counts.’ To put it bluntly today had been a total disaster; I’d lost the girl, thrice, hadn’t learnt anything in lessons and had completely failed to find some meat. I stopped in mid rant, on my arm there was a tiny speck of red. Blood. Her blood. I grimaced then licked it. Nothing happened, I sighed, I guessed I should probably go find her the normal way. As I moved back to the main road and caught her scent, much stronger than before, even as a human, I could almost see the path she had followed. I smiled to myself; finding her now would be easy.

I ran home my hair blowing wildly around my head; I reached my house and desperately tried to open the door all the time waiting for the sound of rushing claws clicking on the concrete. The door opened and I dashed in and slammed it shut, my side was throbbing and bleeding profusely. The adrenalin rush wore off and I was suddenly aware how just how tired I was, so much better just to sleep. I fainted

I kept a close eye on her the next day, aided by her blood. She was brought to school by her mother overly bandaged I thought; after all I had only nicked her. She ate with some friends at lunch; which was pizza and not meat; and she half-heartedly discussed with them where they were going to go that night. She didn’t even spot me looking. The little kid, Tom, was unfortunately still following me, talking incessantly, and finding me almost as soon as I had gotten away from him. I considered changing to scare him off but I had a strange feeling that might encourage him.

After I had fainted, my mum had found me and rushed me straight to hospital. The doctors bandaged me up and pronounced the scratches clean and already healing, and I didn’t even have to miss any school. My life seamed to be getting back to normal after the fever dream of the last few days. The boy was still there though, the one reminder of my temporary insanity, and he was following me. I dismissed him; he couldn’t do anything in public, what could he do anyway; nothing, no need to be worried.

After school she went to a club. One of those ones that look like someone’s dropped a grey brick in-between two buildings. Loud music pumped out into the street and people were constantly walking in and out. It was possibly the worst place for a first change, too many witnesses, too many people who could get hurt and only one visible entrance, the place had disaster written all over it, literally.  That was the club’s name, Disaster. I stayed outside, if seeing me triggered her first change, the results would be terrible and I would be blamed.

The club was packed. Rock music, dancing, flashing coloured lights, everything you needed to have fun. So why did I feel so sad and alone when surrounded by hundreds of people having such a good time. My friends were all dancing and all I was doing was sitting at a table drinking a coke.

“Common Jacky join the party.” One of my friends lifted me out of the chair and pushed me onto the dance floor giggling.

I didn’t dance. I moved through the dancing throng like a ghost ignored and ignoring. Finally I came to a window set high in the wall, a tiny sliver of moonlight, all that was left of the crescent moon, peaked through. Then it vanished, the moon becoming a dark circle in the sky. Time seemed to slow. The lights flashed red making everything the colour of blood. The music throbbed in time to my pulse. Then I changed.

Everyone was so small I wondered what had happened to them and why they were looking at me like that. I looked down at my arm; it was too large, far too hairy couldn’t be mine. My arm didn’t have six inch claws coming out the end.

I wanted to run, to stop the people from staring at me. ‘Why were they staring, what’s so special about me?’ My confused brain thought. There was a scream and then all hell broke loose.

I was sitting outside the club waiting for her to come out, when the music stopped and for one moment there was blissful silence, then it was shattered by a scream. I guessed what had happened; she had had her first change.

“Oh dear” I muttered. I had to get in there. I ran, opened the door and was nearly trampled as a huge crowd of people rushed out yelling at the top of their voices. They were drowned out by an unearthly howl of release, then a cry of pain.

I couldn’t get in there were too many people in the door, there were no windows on this side and I didn’t have time to look for any others. How was I supposed to get in? The answer was staring me in the face. The wall. I sighed this would cause all sorts of repercussions later, but so would a blood bath. I braced myself and changed to gauru, the monstrous half man half wolf of human fears, shaggy fur covered my body, my nails lengthened into claws, my view shifted as I grew a wolf’s head and gained about three feet in height.

I took a step back ignoring the screams of people now faced with a monster both inside and out. I charged the wall praying that it wasn’t load bearing. It collapsed in a shower of brick and mortar. I was in.

The rage was clouding my vision; the people’s screams were hurting my delicate ears; why were they running? What was so scary? I couldn’t see anything frightening? There was an explosion and something hit me in the arm. The man behind the bar had pulled out a gun and was now desperately reloading it. I swatted at it flinging the gun across the room, following up instinctively with a slash across his chest. He screamed in pain and fell to the floor twitching.

Then the wall collapsed revealing what my human side saw as a werewolf, and it quailed before the monster. But the human wasn’t in control and it saw a competitor, I charged.

I quickly surveyed the scene; most of the people had fled trashing the place in their hurry to get out. Another werewolf stood over the body of a man; it was unmistakably the girl, I could sense her, her blood called out to me. Once again I felt that fate was playing with me, of all the possible forms a new werewolf can take I had to face one that chose gauru.

She charged, catching me by surprise, vicious claws ripping into my soft muzzle. I howled in pain and swung my claws only catching her fur as she leapt back. I pressed forward, forming a deadly wall of flashing claws and I slashed her across the chest. She took another step back, ducked a vicious blow going for her head, and spun her leg into mine knocking me off balance and then raking her claws up my chest. I took a step back, blood dripping from my wounds and clotting in my fur. She charged again trying to run me through with her blooded claws. I sidestepped and tore a chunk of flesh from her shoulder with my massive jaws. She roared, her left arm hung uselessly by her side, her right was clasped over it, her eyes were unfocused only noticing the pain. I aimed a punch at her head which she made no move to doge, it hit and she dropped to the floor unconscious.

She started changing back to human and I draped a tablecloth over her. I shifted to dalu and winced as I realised the extent of my injuries. She was a vicious fighter. The club was worse than I thought, there was a hole in the wall from my entrance, the tables were trashed, something had crushed the bar and the glass dance floor had shattered with the weight of two werewolves on it. I wondered how to explain this; maybe a bomb? There were sirens in the distance. It was probably better not to be here.

I wrapped her in the tablecloth and carried her outside, spied an alley that would probably be safe and entered putting her tenderly onto the ground behind a dumpster. The tablecloth was red with blood at her shoulder, but that would heal; nothing to do now but wait, the pack would have heard the noise and be here soon, hopefully.

I woke up, hanging briefly in that space where you’re not aware of the world but know you’re awake. This couldn’t have happened; a werewolf had come in and I’d fought it.  Impossible.  I would open my eyes and see the concerned faces of my friends telling me I had fainted, and everything would be okay.

I opened my eyes. I was lying in an alley with no idea how I got there, wearing only a tablecloth, and my shoulder felt like it was on fire. Definitely, not good.

I sat up, the world swimming as the pain from my shoulder threatened to overwhelm me. It looked bad, a large piece of flesh from my shoulder had been ripped off and I could see the bone glinting white in the mass of red. There was a boy sitting on a trash can, the boy. There were angry red lines across his face and the front of his shirt was wet with blood.

She woke up after a few minutes, long before the pack arrived and looked groggily around. I shifted back into human before she spotted me. She looked more fragile now, lying on the concrete covered only by a blood soaked tablecloth. Nothing of the werewolf showed, and it was hard to imagine her as the monster that had attacked me.

“Who? Who are you? What happened? Why am I here?” she asked her voice faltering. Ed would have been so much better at it, he was naturally a negotiator, but he wasn’t there so I had to do it.

“I am Matt the-youth-who-commands,” ‘might as well be formal’ I thought. “And I am your official welcome to the world of lycanthropy.”

“What are you talking about?” she said. “What do you mean welcome?”

I sighed. This was going to be tricky.

“To put it bluntly, very bluntly, you’re a werewolf.” I saw the disbelief rise in her face as I said this.

“I don’t believe you. Why have you brought me here?” She was getting hysterical and it wouldn’t do to have some public minded person come and see what was happening.

“Calm down I’m not going to hurt you.” I said trying to get her to shut up.

“Why is there blood on you shirt then?” she pointed at me triumphantly.

“That’s mine, now please listen if you just…” I was cut off

“Besides there’s no such thing as werewolves, they’re just children’s stories.” She said dismissively, I lost my temper. Not only had she attacked me but now was denying it and calling me crazy. I changed into a wolf to prove it, and was rewarded with a gasp of amazement. I changed back.

“Now do you believe me?”

“But. But. It isn’t full moon and I haven’t been bitten by a werewolf.” She was clutching at straws now still trying to deny what she knew at heart.

“Both made up by Hollywood I think you’ll find.”

“Does that mean I can still wear silver earrings?” She asked smiling, and was definitely joking with me.

“You’re not taking this seriously are you?” I replied annoyed.

“Why should I? I can’t possibly be a werewolf; I’m just a normal girl. I can’t change into a wolf.”

“Have you tried?”

“No but…”

“Then you don’t know you can’t!” I snapped back ‘Where are Ed and Lucy?’ I thought. ‘They could handle this much better than me.’

“How do I try?” She said softly, startling me.

“What?”

“How do I try?” She repeated calmly. Great, one of the difficult questions.

“Err well…” he looked flustered. “Okay, look inside of yourself, there will be a part of you that’s a wolf, just, well, let it out.”

“You don’t sound very confident.” I pointed out.

“Look it gets easier with practice and it’s kind of difficult to describe.”

I obliged, looking inside my own mind, glancing over my memories in the club. had I really done that. Flicking quickly over the dog attack I went deeper, the old half forgotten memories of my childhood floating past. The day I found out my dad had died. The night he had come home covered in blood. When I was convinced the big bad wolf was after me… I paused, there was something strange but familiar in that memory, I reached out to touch it, to look and see what it was that was part of me and not. It looked back and engulfed me

I reopened my eyes, everything was in black and white, I tried to look down but all I saw was a muzzle. I looked behind me. Saw a wolf’s body and tail. I tried to move it. It, my tail, wagged slightly. I looked up at the boy, now a giant sitting on top of the trash can. I tried to speak but couldn’t my mouth was the wrong shape.

“Don’t think about speaking, just talk.” He said looking down at me

‘That doesn’t make sense.’ I tried to say.

“So how come you just did it.” He pointed out

‘How had he understood that?’ my head reeled. ‘Am I speaking without realising?’

“Yes you are,” I pointed out smugly

She was doing remarkably well. She had already figured out how to change and was picking up wolf speak remarkably quickly, though she needed some help with control. I guessed I should find out where Ed and Lucy had got to.

He stepped of the can shifting smoothly into the form of a wolf as he fell.

“Follow me,” it wasn’t words, just actions, but I could understand him. “We need to find some people.”

“How are we talking?” I asked curiously.

“In the same way wolves do. Now come on.” He started to walk to the end of the alley and I followed him my shoulder miraculously better, though this registered pretty low on my recent scale of strange things. Before we reached the end though, two humans entered the ally.

“Matt,” one of them said, female with bone white hair. “We have been looking all over for you.”

The other, a man with brown hair, noticed me.

“I think, I can guess what happened.” He said still looking at me. “I brought this just in case and I guess you’ll need it.” He held out a collar in red leather. “Put it on, then we can go to our hideout and we can explain everything properly.” He placed it on me, the leather felt strange around my neck, oppressive; I tried to take it off but didn’t have a thumb to loosen the buckle and just pawed it uselessly. ‘This must be what dog feels like’ I thought as Matt shifted back into a human. They started to walk off but I hesitated uneasy, if I did this, I would be accepting everything that couldn’t have happened.

“Come on Jacky, Matt said seeing my reluctance. “It can’t get any stranger.”

He lied.

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